Details

ISBN-10: 0872868141
ISBN-13: 9780872868144
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/20/2021
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 5.90" W, 0.60" H

Published by City Lights

Mule Kick Blues: And Last Poems

Introduction by: Garrett Caples

Paperback

Price: $17.95 $12.57

In stock

Overview

The final book of poems from a Beat Generation legend, Mule Kick Blues finds McClure restlessly innovating until the end.”Intelligent, affable and flecked with unconventional typography–as in previous books … Mule Kick Blues is an estimable coda to a storied career.”–San Francisco Chronicle”What a beautiful book. … I can’t think of any contemporary artist who…

The final book of poems from a Beat Generation legend, Mule Kick Blues finds McClure restlessly innovating until the end.

“Intelligent, affable and flecked with unconventional typography–as in previous books … Mule Kick Blues is an estimable coda to a storied career.”–San Francisco Chronicle

“What a beautiful book. … I can’t think of any contemporary artist who explores the interior, the inside-out of the dharma as magically and freely as McClure except maybe for David Lynch. Were they friends?”–Eileen Myles

“This legendary rockstar eco-poet’s gemlike modal structures will keep humming while ‘black ants circle a bubble of honey.’ A final performance from a master poet.”–Anne Waldman

“These pyramids and lozenges of crystal and light point in all directions and pierce you with the sobbing foghorn lobs of the ever-morphing ripples of the San Andreas Fault Ensemble. Long live McClure and the Libratonic Scales of Interspecies Justice!”–Filip Marinovich

“His dedication to the pursuit of liberation in craft and subject matter reveals him to be a powerhouse of wisdom, love, joy. In this book, his ferocity and tenderness intertwine. Here are poems of improvisational intensity. And they are great gifts to us.”–Uche Nduka

A powerful collection of new work written during the last years of McClure’s life, Mule Kick Blues was readied for publication before the poet’s death in May 2020. Its opening section gives us a rare view into his thoughts about his own mortality, particularly in the moving sequence “Death Poems.” The book takes its title from an innovative series of homages to blues musicians like Leadbelly and Howlin’ Wolf, and evoking Kerouac’s concept of “blues” poems. Featuring shout-outs to lifelong friends like Philip Whalen, Diane di Prima, and Gary Snyder, the long poem “Fragments of Narcissus,” and the eco-logical and zen-infused themes for which he is known, Mule Kick Blues is a definitive statement by one of the most significant American poets of the last sixty years. Introduction by poet Garrett Caples, McClure’s editor at City Lights.

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Praise for Mule Kick Blues:

"Intelligent, affable and flecked with unconventional typography–as in previous books ... Mule Kick Blues is an estimable coda to a storied career."–San Francisco Chronicle

"Here readers will immediately encounter the poet's signature formal techniques: the reuse of certain phrases that fit like modular blocks; the visually captivating all caps; and, especially, McClure's center-justified line, which is destabilized with slight errancies that lend a delightful wobble or curvaceousness to the page. McClure engages familiar Buddhist themes in compositions that mix profound philosophical and spiritual statements with painterly deployments of deep image. The results are often arresting ... As a whole these poems demonstrate McClure's ongoing innovation to the very end of a lifelong practice. Sometimes his experimentations retain a youthful frivolity, but more often they capture the mature, spiritual attunement of a poet facing his own ephemerality."–Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation

"The new volume includes elegies for Jack Kerouac, Diane di Prima, Amiri Baraka, Philip Whalen and Jack Micheline and 'Mule Kick Blues, ' a section channeling blues greats like Willie Dixon and Lead Belly. But the theme of facing death peacefully–even joyfully–permeates the collection. 'Mortality is beautiful, ' he writes, comparing death to a dark chocolate cake. ... But he combined a lifelong Buddhist practice with an ecstatic embrace of life–sex, muscle, sinew–that can't be forgotten. In Garrett Caples' words [in the introduction], 'Posterity must contend with this lion.'"–Nob Hill Gazette

"A sequence of four 'Death Poems' in a section called 'MORTALITIES' evinces one of the most joyful attitudes toward death I've seen in poetry, something perhaps not surprising to readers of McClure, but still a fantastic thing to have."–Vincent Katz, The Best American Poetry Blog

"Poet Michael McClure was obsessed with the way words hang on the page–forming like crystalline icicles on the cool midnight eaves. And in Mule Kick Blues, his final collection of poems, he explores this obsession until it leads him to the edge of the ultimate rainbow. ... And like all great books, Mule Kick delivers a timeless message ... it evinces that McClure is still singing out there somewhere over the invisible skyline in your next life."–Electric Review

"With a heartfelt introduction by editor Garrett Caples, Mule Kick Blues is a magnificent lasting tribute to the far reaches of McClure's imagination, creativity, and singular standing in Beat literature."–Beat Scene

"What a beautiful book. He's Blake-huge and gets away with it, possibly because he's always in motion. 'Should I put a hairy tail where my head is?' He revels in the unstable. The famous all caps that explode in his poems show the bounce of his desire at the micro and macro, a wish to experience, to understand the scale of existence. I've never read such a disarming approach to mortality and death, he's young in it and absolutely withit, most felicitously when he shares it with a friend: "AROUND / THE / EARS / a puff / of / cherry blossom smell" which he repeats to Diane because poets always speak to each other in rhythm. I can't think of any contemporary artist who explores the interior, the inside-out of the dharma as magically and freely as McClure except maybe for David Lynch. Were they friends? He talks to a shark before crossing to 'the other side'. The radicality of Michael McClure might be that he's all on the surface, but rarely alone, like a new kind of depth: 'To the sensual fly buzzing in my ear / I am a warm good tasting stone.'"–Eileen Myles

"Like Zen poets of yore, Michael McClure's tender satori consciousness cuts though the Dark Age with friendship, desire, psalms of the meat-wheel, pond-plants physics, and animal cries in spines of symmetry. It's a pulsing maelstrom. And others chime in: Sung Tung-P'o, Dōgen, Mallarmé, and Blake flex biceps in mutual co-arising. Mule Kick Blues is claps of thunder bringing the mind back to a luminous level of particulars. 'I'm coming from my hormones with nothing left to tease.' A cat's face is 'like a basket of pine cones in a dream.' Recently departed, this legendary rockstar eco-poet's gemlike modal structures will keep humming while 'black ants circle a bubble of honey.' A final performance from a master poet."–Anne Waldman

"A searing offering of Dharma gongs forged from raw speech and spirited struggle with mortality rather than the usual arch-translation instruction manual. These pyramids and lozenges of crystal and light point in all directions and pierce you with the sobbing foghorn lobs of the ever-morphing ripples of the San Andreas Fault Ensemble. Long live McClure and the Libratonic Scales of Interspecies Justice!"–Filip Marinovich

"The primordial, the modern, and the postmodern collide in Michael McClure's intriguing poetry. His art is a masterful mosaic of experiential and visionary transformation. His dedication to the pursuit of liberation in craft and subject matter reveals him to be a powerhouse of wisdom, love, joy. In this book, his ferocity and tenderness intertwine. Here are poems of improvisational intensity. And they are great gifts to us."–Uche Nduka

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Details

ISBN-10: 0872868141
ISBN-13: 9780872868144
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/20/2021
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 5.90" W, 0.60" H
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